Brian Stelter calls Fox News' Jesse Watters the network's new 'primetime extremist'

November 12, 2023

Having moved into the coveted 8 p.m. slot once occupied by Tucker Carlson, Fox News personality Jesse Watters has been no stranger to controversy, and in the estimation of one liberal media critic, he has officially become the network's “primetime extremist,” as Breitbart reports.

The accusation came from former CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter, who sat down with Joy Reid, host of The ReidOut on MSNBC.

Watters has found himself the target of heated criticism from the left in recent weeks, particularly due to remarks made during appearances on the popular Fox News talk panel show The Five.

As The Hill reported, Watters came under particular fire for statements made about Americans of Middle Eastern origin in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.

Specifically, Watters declared, “I want to say something about Arab Americans and about the Muslim world,” and he went on to state that despite mutually beneficial past collaboration between the U.S. and Middle Eastern countries, “[w]e've had it. We've had it with them.”

“And so, if you're an Arab American in this country, and you ripped down posters of Jewish hostages of American hostages, no, no, no, no, someone is going to get punched in the face. When you rip down posters of hostages like that. This is absolutely not,” Watters added.

Watters courted criticism from liberals last month as well, when he opined that there was no relevant difference between Palestinian civilians and Hamas terrorists, as the Independent noted.

“I don't like how people try to differentiate between the Palestinians and Hamas,” Watters began.

He continued, "To me, I see people with guns. That's Hamas. The people without the guns are the Palestinians. They believe the same thing. The Palestinians hire Hamas to run their government. You poll them: they all love killing Jews. It's in their charter. They say they believe in suicide bombings.”

Watters added, “Every time a Palestinian refugee goes to another country, it doesn't work out so well for the country and for those Palestinians.”

Over these and other comments made by Watters in recent months, Stelter and Reid took extreme exception to Watters' presence on the airwaves.

Reid wondered, “Is it a bottom-up thing? Is this the audience craves this and so Fox serves it, or are they engineering this kind of necrophilic attitude toward American culture and divisiveness?”

Stelter opined, “In the Roger Ailes era, it was top-down. But now, as you said, it is bottom-up. It is now driven by the audience. The audience is in charge, which is a scary prospect sometimes, even though I love our viewers right now, Joy.”

The ousted CNN personality went on skeptically, “Jesse Watters has taken over as the Fox primetime extremist. They think they are, quote 'respecting the audience,'” but given the fact that the conservative network continually dominates the ratings and Stelter was unceremoniously dumped from his own show, readers would perhaps be well-advised to take his opinion with a very large grain of salt.

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